Quality General Practice during the COVID-19 pandemic
Recently, research was published about quality general practice during the COVID-19 pandemic. 5 General practices were featured in the research, one of which was HHMP. A plain language summary of the research is provided by the authors is included below. There are links to the 2 article in the Australian Journal of General Practice.
Healthy Primary Care – Quality General Practice
How has the COVID-19 pandemic influenced patient-centred care? This work was published as a two-part series
Investigators and Authors: Dr Bryce Brickley, Prof. Lauren T. Williams, Prof. Mark Morgan, Dr Alyson Ross, Ms Kellie Trigger, A/Prof. Lauren Ball
Journal: Australian Journal of General Practice
Overview of Research Findings
Despite the pandemic, the pursuit for patient-centred care in Australian general practice has not been abandoned. High performing general practice clinics maintained a focus on delivering care that is respectful and responsive to the needs and wishes of patients. General practice teams in our study showed they adapted towards the new pandemic-influenced environment to deliver patient-centred care. General practice teams innovated their technological systems, invested in new infrastructure, and demonstrated strong community leadership to maintain patient-centred care.
Summary of Research
The COVID-19 pandemic adversely impacted general practice organisations throughout Australia. Initially, fewer patients attended general practice services for routine care. Then, the number of telehealth consultations significantly increased; all while general practice was called upon by the Federal Government to vaccinate the bulk of the national population. Prior to this research, the extent of the influence of the pandemic of patient-centred care was not known.
This study engaged five general practice clinics across six different Australian states/territories. To be an eligible clinic, the practice must have received a “Practice of the Year” award or commendation from the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners or Australian General Practice Accreditation Limited within the last five years (2021-2016). A representative nominated by each eligible clinic participated in one 30-minute interview and described the perspectives and experiences by their general practice team of delivering patient-centred care during the pandemic.
The themes that developed from interviews were:
- The pandemic created new barriers to enacting patient-centred care
- A focus on patient-centred care within general practice teams was maintained throughout the pandemic
- Proactiveness led to patient-centred innovations
- Strong leadership and patient-focused practice culture enabled patient-centred care
- Investment in new technology and infrastructure enabled patient-centred care
- Convenience and accessibility of telehealth was valued and embraced by clinicians and patients.
The value of this research comes from understanding the ‘real world’ experiences of general practice teams. Participants’ narrative quotes highlight the perseverance of general practice teams and their prioritisation for patient-centred care. High performing general practice teams can act as a role model and guide the wider general practice discipline to continue to enact patient-centred care despite the pandemic’s influence. Future research can use these findings to tailor tools to measure and support patient-centred care.